03 September 2004

Trade Justice "Ballot on the Beach" during Labour conference

Thousands of campaigners are expected in Brighton on Sunday 26 September to cast their votes for Trade Justice. There will be a rally, procession and Latin American style protest - with pots, pans, whistles and drums - outside the Labour Party conference, to call for fairer global trade rules.

Led by the Methodist Relief and Development Fund (MRDF) and MAYC World Action, Methodists are encouraged to gather for the procession between 12.45 and 1.45pm outside Dorset Gardens Methodist Church, Brighton.

In Brighton, the Trade Justice Movement, a coalition of aid agencies, environment and human rights campaigns, fair-trade organisations, trade unions and faith groups, will be launching a major new campaign called 'Vote For Trade Justice' in which people are asked to cast a 'vote' in support of the trade justice campaign. Celebrities such as Casualty's Kwame Kwei-Armah and Time Team's Tony Robinson will cast ballots alongside thousands of campaigners to call on the UK government to support the call for trade justice. MRDF and MAYC World Action have already started to gather in the votes, with over 1,500 being cast at MAYC's Breakout alone, and many more being taken to Brighton.

"We hear firsthand from our overseas partners about the effects of unfair trade rules," said Kevin Fray, MRDF's Supporter Relations Co-ordinator, who has recently returned from visiting MRDF partners in Uganda, "When crops lose value because of changes in the international market, people lose their livelihoods. It's as simple as that. We must support our partners at a local level, but we must also encourage our government to change the rules that keep people in poverty. So please come to Brighton on the 26 September. It's a great opportunity to speak out in solidarity with the world's poorest people."

World Action Secretary Lizzie Jeans said: "We want to achieve something extraordinary with Vote for Trade Justice - a collective statement from the huge numbers of people in the UK who believe in challenging our world of enormous inequality, and making world trade work for all. The Labour government could play a role in changing this. Help us create a message they can't ignore."

"'Vote for Trade Justice' will give a voice to the thousands of people across the UK who are concerned about the way trade is deepening global injustice and poverty. Unjust trade rules keep millions of people in poverty around the world and harm our environment. The Labour government could play a key role in changing this."

For further information about Brighton or to order Vote for Trade Justice cards, visit www.mrdf.org.uk or www.worldaction.info or contact 020 7467 5132.



1.         'Vote for Trade Justice' will run throughout 2005. Next year is a crucial period for the fight against poverty with the UK government hosting the G8 meeting of the world's most powerful countries and holding the presidency of the EU. It is also the 20th anniversary of Live Aid.

2.         The Trade Justice Movement is supported by more than 50 member organisations that have over 9 million members, with new organisations joining every month. Together, we are campaigning for trade justice - not free trade - with the rules weighted to benefit poor people and the environment.

3.         MRDF is an independent charity rooted in the Methodist Church in Britain. World Action is the campaigning section of MAYC - supporting youth work in the Methodist Church. Both are members of the Trade Justice Movement.

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